Friday, August 26, 2011

We drag ourselves into the present

Away from the keyboard for almost a fortnight as events that I were not expecting washed over me. Details don't really matter but it is rather sobering to realise how important one's health is when it starts to look threatened. Just ask Steve Jobs - all the money in the world and he ain't going to see sixty.

Well I have (last Monday) and the day was the bestI've had since my elder daughter's wedding nine months ago. Surrounded by family and a good meal - all the important stuff in life. Even going to work wasn't too bad; got a jolly yummy cake and was let out early.

On top of all this I got a present. Regular readers of these ramblings will be aware that my computing and tech needs are met from Cupertino. I was lured from the dark side of Redmond years ago when I nicked a G4 iBook off number two daughter for a business trip. I sit typing this (not at work for reasons related to yesterday's momentous events) with two iMacs, a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 4 on the desk. But there is a new member of the clan that has foundhimself some real estate.

When did the iPad come out? Eighteen months ago - dunno. Never got one because I didn't need one (although if I only bought things I need I would purchase nothing). However I now have a bright shiny 64G Wifi only model (I have the phone and its personal hotspot) sitting in front of me courtesy of my generous family. And you know what, it is every bit as good as it says on the tin.

Is this thing going to change my computing life.? Well having unboxed it just last night (I told you I had been busy, that's three days after it arrived) it is certainly going to make it hard to justify buying a Mac Book Air to join the stable. I think it is absolutely brilliant on the evidence of twelve hours use. It is touted as the best way to surf the web. And I agree. There is an app ('There's an app for that') called Flipboard which is easily in the 'most useful bits of software I've come across' list. It's touted as a personal magazine and I reached for the vomit bowl. But they are right. Load up all your interests (cars, cricket, tech, fishing, news etc etc) and it runs around the web picking up news and tid bits for you. Very impressive. There is an app that just wanders aimlessly (well sort of) around the web landing on sites you might be interested in. I can see hours of potentially productive time going down the gurgler there. I now have Stephen Fry's autobigraphy for $9.99 in a format that can be employed in seat 1C next Monday. I've tried reading books on the iPhone and it is stupid and totally unworkable.

Yet to find a decent weather app but I don't expect that state of affairs will last for long. Small scale engineering sites optimized for IOS might be a little trickier to find. The mobile version of Dropbox might at last have some use apart from looking impressive in the Utilities folder on the phone.

I think I'll get a MacBook Air next year anyway, though.

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